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Mobile Strike Force Vehicle (MSFV)

The Mobile Strike Force Vehicle (MSFV) is a family of 4x4 armored vehicles, initially developed by Textron Marine and Land Systems for the Afghan National Army in cooperation with the US Army. The MSFV has all-wheel drive, an automatic transmission, air conditioning, and a central tire-inflation system. The MSFV is a modified and updated version of a Textron Marine and Land Systems Armored Security Vehicle (ASV) platform, variants of which was in service at the time of its development with the US Army as the M1117 Armored Security Vehicle and M1200 Armored Knight. The modifications on the MSFV allow for additional protection while still utilizing commercial-off-the-shelf parts.

The MSFV family initially consisted of 3 variants, each designed to meet a specific combat role and to meet and enhance the Afghan National Army Quick Reaction Force capability, referred to as Mobile Strike Forces or Mobile Strike Force Kandaks (Kandak being a Pashtun word roughly equivalent to a US Army battalion). The 3 variants included an armored personnel carrier with the Objective Gunner's Protective Kit developed initially for US Army Up-Armored HMMWVs, an armored personnel carrier with a turret equipped with a 40mm automatic grenade launcher and .50 caliber machine gun as used on the M1117 ASV, and an armored ambulance. The MSFV would provide each Mobile Strike Force Kandak with a rapidly deployable, highly mobile armored capability that could quickly maneuver in an all terrain environment, while concurrently providing the Afghan National army with sufficient firepower to conduct a wide variety of operational missions over an extended range and distance.

The MSFV program was managed by the Army's Project Manager Armored Security Vehicle (PdM ASV), which fell under the leadership of Project Manger Joint Combat Support Systems (PM JCSS) within the Program Executive Office for Combat Support and Combat Service Support (PEO CS&CSS). The MSFV program was started in 2010 and went from receiving a theater defined requirement to awarding a contract and completing the Army Acquisition process, resulting in delivery of the first Low Rate Initial Production vehicles off the production line in just 14 months. The first 18 of a planned total of 281 MSFVs were shipped to the Afghan National Army in November 2011. PdM ASV was working in conjunction with the Combined Security Training Command - Afghanistan (CSTC-A), the US Companion to the NATO Training Mission - Afghanistan (NTM-A), to provide a complete fielding, training, and long term sustainment program to stand up 7 newly organized Afghan National Army Mobile Strike Force Kandaks by the end of 2013.

However, before the MSFVs could be put into the fight, the men who would use them would have to be trained to operate, utilize, and maintain the vehicles. Those training sessions began in December 2011 with the first 'Train the Instructor' (T2I) class. 'Crawl, Walk, Run' was a common refrain heard in the training facilities of the United States Army throughout the world and this approach forced new soldiers to focus on the basics before moving onto more advanced techniques. In Afghanistan, that same training principal was applied at the newly opened Afghanistan National Army Armor Branch School.

The US Army's Maneuver Support Center of Excellence (MSCoE) played a critical role by leading the T2I effort, but they were not alone. T2I was a combined effort led by MSCoE in partnership with the French Armor Branch School, the Afghan National Army Armor Branch School, PM ASV, and Textron Marine and Land Systems. PM ASV had been actively working in conjunction with CSTC-A to provide a complete fielding, training, and long term sustainment program to the 5 newly organized Mobile Strike Force Kandaks.

The inaugural class in December 2011 was attended by 71 Afghan instructors, who would form the initial training force for the Afghan National Army Armor Branch School. It was during this training time that partnerships were formed, relationships were developed and confidence in the system was established. The final event of the training was a live fire exercise designed to test the knowledge acquired by the Afghan National Army instructors and to promote confidence within their ranks.

In March 2012, the Afghan National Army took possession of the first 58 of an expanded expected total of 352 MSFVs. Fifty-eight was established authorized number of MSFVs per Mobile Strike Force Kandak. Instruction for the first Mobile Strike Force Kandak began in April 2012. The 6-week MSFV Operator New Equipment Training (OPNET) would consist of basic MSFV operational training for the tank commander, driver, and gunner for each MSFV. With 58 vehicles per Kandak, each with a crew of 3, it was expected that 174 soldiers would train in the initial OPNET. The training conducted at the Afghan National Army Armor School was a group effort provided by personnel from the PdM ASV, MSCoE, the contractor AAI, and the French Army. After completing OPNET, it was expected that the Afghan National Army soldiers would begin mounted and dismounted tactics training with the French contingent for 6-8 weeks. This would then be followed by five weeks of validation training.




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